Fethiye 3: An Exploratory Hike

Trip Start Feb 08, 2008
Trip End Sep 11, 2009

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Flag of Turkey  , Turkish Aegean Coast,
Monday, June 8, 2009

On this day I set out to discover the nature of a strange feature that I had seen on a previous (2006) hike in this area--the environs of the village of Kayaköy. (About Kayaköy below). What I could see was a line of stone on the face of a far hill. I thought it might be an aqueduct. But even with binoculars I could not resolve it enough to figure out what it was. My curiosity persisted.

So now, after taking a bus from Fethiye to Kayaköy, I set out walking in the direction of the feature. It turned out to be a rather long walk, but along a road. Or at least a road for the first and major part. There came a point, though, when I sought a more direct route, so headed off bushwhacking down a ravine and dried creek bed.

When I got to the coast line I discovered that my objective was actually on an island. From the mainland I could not see what the feature was. But I learned that the island held an archaeological site. The strait between was maybe a hundred and fifty yards across, and I figured I probably could swim it, but then I wouldn't have any shoes or clothes with which to explore. Plus, I was too cheap to hire a local to chug me over in a boat. So, I put the visit aside for this day, and just went for a swim in this little cove. To the left is the exit of the dry creek ravine. On the right is the island. The strait is the frequent objective of "party" boats out of Fethiye. And others.

After the swim I headed back, up this road which I had shorted when I bushwhacked down. The map pin (above), by the way, is stuck pretty much right where this picture was taken. The small island does not appear on the topographical map above, but is just off the end of the road at the cove. In the photo, the road seen at the right on the way far shore beyond the island, I hiked in 2006.

Back into the valley there was this view of the old ghost village of Kayaköy. In the backgrond is Baba Dağ (Father Mountain). These days hang gliders soar off the peak. And, down behind the hill backing Kayaköy is the famous tourist beach of Olüdeniz. The kind of place I avoid like the plague.

About Kayaköy

Kayaköy is now a ghost village. It was formerly a village of Greek people. But, after World War I, and then following the war for Turkish independence, including a fierce Turk-Greek war, there was an "exchange" of ethnic nationals. Turks would not live in the homes of the exiled Greeks, and the village fell into ruin. Turks populated the farming valley below. These days, though, there is creeping gentrification at the lower edges of the vacant village as modern day tourism is on the rise.

In any case, the story of the events of the 1920's is told in the novel Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres (he's English). Here is a Wikipedia entry relevant (in part):

Plot summary
The story is set in Eskibahçe, a small fictional village in
southwestern coastal Anatolia during the 1900s, spanning World
War I
and the era of Turkish nationalism. The Battle of Gallipoli takes place
halfway through the novel. Although fiction, the setting of Eskibahçe is
based upon Kayaköy (Greek: Levissi Λεβισσι) village near Fetiye [sic; Fethiye], the
ruins of which still exist today. Once a thriving Greek village, this
town of over one thousand houses, two churches, fourteen chapels, and
two schools, was completely deserted in 1923 when the Greek inhabitants
living there, along with a vast number of Greeks living throughout
Turkey were repatriated to Greece through a massive government mandated
population exchange between the two countries following the Turkish war
of independence. Historically, Turks and Greeks had lived together in
this region for centuries, the Turks as farmers in the Kaya valley and
the Greeks living on the hillside dealing in crafts and trades. A Greek
presence in this region goes back for centuries. Since then, the village
of Kayakoy, as it is called in Turkish, or Karmylassos, as it was
called in Greek, which had been continually inhabited since at least the
13th century, has stood empty and crumbling, with only the breeze from
the mountains and mist from the sea blowing through its empty houses and
streets. Attempts by the Turkish government to get Turks repatriated
from Greece to inhabit the village failed, and eventually, in the 1950s,
the roofs of all the houses were removed.

Also, perhaps of interest: http://www.louisdebernieres.co.uk/

Well, ok for the history. (Oh, I confess to not yet having read the novel. I guess I should). Back into the Turkish settlement I stopped into this roadside restaurant for a much needed meal. The dead fish, and me, slightly more alive, looked at each other.

Then it was catch the bus back to Fethiye. (The h is silent: fet-i-ye)

Oh, that strange feature on the  island? See the next blog entry . . . . "Fethiye 4: To St. Nicholas Island"
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